Closing the Loop: Road Map for Effective Material Value Recovery

Closing the Loop: Road Map for Effective Material Value Recovery provides a detailed systems analysis of international packaging recovery systems, including successful collection, sorting, and reprocessing technologies and infrastructures, as well as the waste management policies that support or limit recycling. This 93-page report focuses on material recovery in several EU nations, as well as Australia and Ontario, Canada. The report presents a series of snapshots of advanced recycling systems and best practices that could improve recovery in the US. While much of the Road Map is focused on urban areas, it also includes a section on recovering materials in rural settings.

Summarizing successes within various country, state, and municipal systems internationally, the report identifies emerging a number of best practices that could be adopted within the US, such as:

  • A harmonized systems approach for all packaging materials, formats, and end-of-life options
  • Four- or five-bin collection systems for clean, high-quality materials
  • Investment in state of the art sorting technology
  • Clear and nationally-coordinated waste policies, including extended producer responsibility legislation
  • Ongoing public education campaigns encouraging participation in recycling and composting
  • “Hub and spoke” regional recycling in rural areas

Released January 2012.

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